Culture | Wednesday, 10 March 2010 |sundanesecorner.org
Born in Bandung on 19 November 1968, Ismet Ruchimat is the leading musician of Sambasunda, a Bandung-based musical group that blends traditional Sundanese music with contemporary music from all over the world. He also teaches music at Indonesian College of Arts (STSI) at Bandung.
“Tradition is actually a contemporary matter. The process of conserving a tradition is undertaken to adapt to a new era. This is very important as an act of investing culture in order to face the future. In this context Sundanese culture should not lose its spirit,” he said to me in the courtyard of STSI campus.
Ismet and friends founded Sambasunda in 1993 to combine traditional Sundanese karawitan with contemporary music. From their creativity stemmed a new musical genre, which is different from its traditional sources. Sambasunda creates an ethnic music that has urban characteristics.
The music of Sambasunda may be called as contemporary Sundanese music. It is played with several Sundanese instruments, both percussions and strings, along with modern musical instruments. It performs pop, jazz, and rock. Some of its creations modify traditional Sundanese folk songs.
“Preserving traditional values should make the tradition relevant to urban life. Creativity is needed in order to realize the new era that in turn will create a new creation that stemmed from traditional values,” said he.
Since it foundation, Sambasunda has often been performing music in all over the five continents. Nearly very year it performs music both in Indonesia and abroad. It has also released musical albums, i.e. Rythmical in Sundanese People, Gebyar Bali Jaipong: Bajidor Kahot, Sunda-Bali: Millenium Ritual, Takbir dan Shalawat, Salsa and Salse, and Sambasunda.
“For me, traditional music is my point of departure. Beside, who shall play our music if not ourselves? No matter where to play the music, preserving Sundanese music is always our ideal,” said Ismet, a doctoral candidate in Performance Arts at Gadjah Mada University (UGM), Yogyakarta.
Like Ismet, all musicians and singers who gather in Sambasuda are young. The music they performed is the sound of new Sundanese generation that enchant the world.
“Sambasunda is not merely a musical group, but also an education medium for promoting Sundanese art and culture,” said Ismet.***
Rameli Agam, a Bandung-based journalist